World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Thomasville Air Force Station

Article Id: WHEBN0022659394
Reproduction Date:

Title: Thomasville Air Force Station  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 32d Air Division, Falling Leaves (radar network), Willow Run Air Force Station, Bendix AN/FPS-14 Radar, Bendix AN/FPS-18 Radar
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Thomasville Air Force Station

Thomasville Air Force Station
Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)
Thomasville, Alabama
Type Long Range Radar Site
Site information
Owner National Park Service
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Open to
the public
Site history
Built 1959
In use 1959-1969
Built by U.S. Air Force
Garrison information
Garrison Thomasville, Alabama
Thomasville AFS is located in Alabama
Thomasville AFS
Thomasville AFS
Location of Thomasville AFS, Alabama

Thomasville Air Force Station (ADC ID: TM-197, NORAD ID: Z-197) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 1.9 miles (3.1 km) north-northwest of Thomasville, Alabama. It was closed in 1969.


Thomasville Air Force Station came into existence as part of Phase III of the Air Defense Command Mobile Radar program. On October 20, 1953 ADC requested a third phase of twenty-five radar sites be constructed.

698th Radar Squadron emblem

The 698th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron moved to Thomasville on 1 September 1958 when a test model of the AN/FPS-35 radar was installed for evaluation. It was the first of the large radars to be deployed, and initially the station functioned as a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes. Two AN/FPS-90 height-finder radars were added in the early 1960s.

The Ground Air Transmitting Receiving (GATR) Site for communications was located at , approximately 0.8 miles east-northeast from the main site. Normally the GATR site was connected by a pair of buried telephone cables, with a backup connection of dual telephone cables overhead. The Coordinate Data Transmitting Set (CDTS) (AN/FST-2) at the main site converted each radar return into a digital word which was transmitted by the GATR via microwave to the Control Center.

In 1959, Thomasville joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, feeding data to DC-09 at Gunter AFB, Alabama. After joining, the squadron was redesignated as the 698th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 October. The radar squadron provided information 24/7 the SAGE Direction Center where it was analyzed to determine range, direction altitude speed and whether or not aircraft were friendly or hostile. On 31 July 1963, the site was redesignated as NORAD ID Z-97.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 9th Aerospace Defense Division implemented an improvised missile warning system directed toward the Cuban missile threat called Falling Leaves. In October 1962, the SPADATS AN/FPS-49 radar at Moorestown Air Force Station, New Jersey was reoriented south and directed toward Cuba. A communication network was established with Moorestown, the AN/FPS-78 radar at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas and Thomasville. All three stations were in turn tied into the command centers at NORAD and at Strategic Air Command. This missile detection network remained in operation until 28 November and the Moorestown and Laredo sites were returned to their normal SPADATS mission when Soviet missiles were withdrawn from Cuba. The Thomasville station, retained coverage until late December as a precaution.[1]

The 698th Radar Squadron was inactivated on 30 September 1969 and Thomasville AFS was closed due to a draw-down of ADC and budget constraints. After its closure, the site was the location of the Thomasville Mental Health & Rehabilitation Center, and Alabama Department of Youth Services. However, the former closed completely by November 2003.

Today the former radar site is used by the Alabama Southern Community College. Many of the former Air Force buildings remain, as well as the large AN/FPS-35 search-radar tower, which dominates the site.

Air Force units and assignments


  • 698th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, assigned 1 September 1958
Activated 1 December 1957 at Dobbins AFB, GA (not equipped or manned)
Redesignated 698th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 October 1959
Inactivated 31 December 1969[2]


See also



  1. ^ NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Historical Reference Paper No. 8, Directorate of Command History Continental Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO , 1 Feb 63 (Top Secret NOFORN declassified 9 March 1996)
  2. ^ Cornett, Lloyd H.; Johnson, Mildred W. (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 161. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Cornett, Lloyd H.; Johnson, Mildred W. (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. 
  • NORAD/CONAD Participation in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Historical Reference Paper No. 8, Directorate of Command History Continental Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, 1 Feb 63 (Top Secret NOFORN declassified 9 March 1996)

Further reading

External links

  • Information for Thomasville AFS, AL
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.